I had a mad craving for peanut butter and Nutella this weekend. Hoping to satisfy it with a quick fix, I dipped a spoon into a jar of peanut butter, then followed suit with the Nutella jar. It tasted great, of course, but I wanted something more. I wanted them together in a baked good. I considered a thick, chewy bar; a moist, rich cake; another puff pastry treat (Nutella Orange Marmalade Palmiers here) and even another tart (but it’s hard to beat this Nutella tart from Pierre Hermé). Ultimately, I chose to tackle cookies again. I’ve mentioned here that I’m not the most comfortable baking cookies–I would always rather bake a cake or a tart–but I was feeling up to a challenge yesterday so cookies it was.
My first challenge was to find a recipe that sounded promising. I found quite a few for cookies with Nutella swirled into them but those that I found appealing required ingredients that I didn’t have available (Oats, who runs out of Quaker oats? Crunchy peanut butter; we use creamy exclusively). Determined to have cookies by the end of the day, I finally just decided to wing it using an old peanut butter cookie recipe, adjusting the ingredients and measurements to account for the addition of Nutella.
This is the part about baking that makes me nervous–even though I’ve been reading BakeWise to help me better understand the science of baking, I still haven’t put into practice the little I’ve learned so far. I’m hoping that one of these days, Ms. Corriher’s formula for finding the right balance between flour, sugar, fat and eggs will become less foreign to me. Until then, there is always an element of uncertainty whenever I improvise with baked goods, especially cookies.
Fortunately, I must have picked up a tip or two from the book because these peanut butter Nutella cookies were terrific. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results. I am partial to chewy cookies and these were just right. Under-baking them helped a lot though I will admit that I second-guessed myself as I pulled the first batch out of the oven.
As far as taste, I wasn’t sure either about mixing the Nutella directly with the rest of the ingredients. Typically, the Nutella component remains separate and as I mentioned before, is usually swirled into a batter or used as a filling or topping. I also used proportionately more peanut butter, the former is more pronounced in these cookies but there is no mistaking the presence of Nutella either. The peanut butter flavor leads the way followed by a subtle chocolate-hazelnut finish. I cut back on brown sugar here and I think that helped to bring out the best of the two main ingredients.
I was sorry not to have baked these cookies the day before; I’m actually quite proud of them and would have loved to show up to our friends’ party with them. And coming from this [former?] cookie novice, that’s saying a lot. Try these. Soon.
Le Creuset Pairings Contest – Would you Vote for me on Pinterest?
Before I get to the recipe, I’d like to share with you the little project I’ve been alluding to the last few posts. The Le Creuset company invited me to participate in their pairings contest. The campaign brings together Marseille, the latest color for their enameled cast iron line of cookware and their new stainless steel product line. The 14 contestants were asked to photograph the Le Creuset products (my submission above), bringing them together like some of the more classic pairings in the kitchen that we’re all familiar with (bacon and eggs, meat and potatoes, etc).
With Marseille being the new color, I decided to create a theme celebrating its namesake French city that sits on the Mediterranean coast. With a bistro setting in mind I opted for a classic pairing that is often seen in seaside menus: mussels and fries.
It may sound silly but I already feel like a winner for being asked to participate in this contest. However, if I really do win, I get to give away an identical cookware set to one of my readers! I would love for one of you to be able to win the dutch oven and stainless steel pans here.
Update: Contest is closed. Thanks so much for your votes!!!
This is a Pinterest-based contest and will run for a month. All you would have to do is “like” the original pin of my photo on Pinterest. Please click on this link to “like” my picture or http://pinterest.com/pin/59039445085304640/
That’s it! Yes, the competition is tough so I would appreciate your support so much! Thank you!
(If you visit Le Creuset’s Pairings site, you can also be eligible to win one of their weekly prizes. Check it out here.)
Oh, and I will have a giveaway for you on Thursday–stay tuned for that, too!
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup firmly-packed dark brown sugar
- ¾ cup (scant) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup creamy peanut butter (I use Adam’s Organic Creamy PB)
- ½ cup Nutella
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the melted butter, sugars, peanut butter, Nutella, egg and vanilla extract in a large bowl until well blended.
- Sift the rest of the dry ingredients in another bowl and carefully add to the wet mixture. Mix on low speed just until combined. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 1½ – 2 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (see my notes about oven temps below). Grease two baking sheets or line each one with Silpat. With damp hands, shape the dough into roughly two-inch balls then flatten them on your palm slightly (like you would a hamburger patty). I used an ice cream scoop to make measuring easier. The dough will seem dry and crumbly right out of the refrigerator but the heat of your hands will make it easier to form the balls. Squeeze and roll around your palms to bring the ball together before flattening.
- Place the disks two inches apart on the baking sheets (you can lightly press the dough with the tines of a fork but these cookies do puff up nicely and are not as obvious when baked) and bake for 12-15 minutes. I would err on the earlier side with these cookies. When you pull them out of the oven they will seem too soft. Use a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack. Cool to room temperature before serving.